A rare breed horse has given birth to a filly (female foal) whose gender was determined by scientists in a bid to help protect the breed.

The Suffolk Punch filly was born earlier this month to a mare called Euston Ruby. Both are owned by Nottingham Trent University at its Brackenhurst Campus in Southwell.

It follows an innovative approach using sex sorted sperm to determine the gender - the first time in the world that this technique has been used to support the survival of rare breeds.

After the mechanisation of farming the breed faced almost certain extinction after only nine foals were born in 1966. Despite efforts to revive the Suffolk, fewer than 80 mares are left in the UK today and only 300 worldwide.

Last year, 34 foals were born in the UK including 19 colts and 15 fillies, but more mares are desperately needed to widen the breeding pool. This landmark birth raises hopes for the historic breed.

The foal and mum are both doing well.

Published July 2020